Story Musgrave, a former astronaut who helped develop Skylab and the Hubble space telescope, and Mark Ratner, an expert on nanotechnology, will be two featured speakers at the Society of Plastics Engineers Annual Technical Conference, set for May 16-20 at Chicago's Navy Pier.
Ratner will discuss polymer nanostructures during his May 17 plenary speech. He is the Morrison Professor of Chemistry at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill.
Nanotechnology refers to the manipulation of matter at the atomic and molecular level. The term derives its name from a nanometer, or a billionth of a meter. Ratner's latest book gives a current-events slant: New Weapons, New War: Homeland Security, International Defense and Nanotechnology.
Musgrave, the speaker May 18, is a modern-day Renaissance man - Space Shuttle astronaut, scientist, surgeon, but also a poet who is greatly interested in literature. Musgrave flew on the first space shuttle voyage aboard the Challenger.
He helped develop the Hubble telescope, then led the mission to repair it. He was the lead astronaut in spacewalking for more than 25 years, and he helped develop all the processes and equipment for spacewalking on the shuttle system.
For the past five years, Musgrave has been a Walt Disney Fellow in the research and development division of Disney's Imagineering department. He currently works for Tupperware Corp. as a designer in product development.
Also at Antec, there will be 837 technical papers - a record number.
Brookfield-based SPE also will hold a New Technology Forum focusing on reactive materials.